"Gnostic Soup": Pagan fertility gods, IVF, Hollywood, cloning/genetic engineering, bioethics, transhumanism, libertarians, drugs, eugenics, etc.

Dianne N. Irving
Copyright November 7, 2005
Reproduced with Permission

So you think of IVF as now just a "routine" way for women to become pregnant? Think again - it's far more exciting and colorful than that - more complicated and questionable. It is itself the physical link between the medical issues involving artificial human reproduction and the scientific issues involving all sorts of human genetic engineering research. The links below represent just a few examples of the interfaces and connecting interests within IVF and artificial reproductive technologies. Since each major term can be "Googled", each resulting in millions of hits, only two or three are given as representative. It's worth checking out yourself. All of these IVF "interfaces" are now "mainstream", not just for the fringes anymore. Time to take them seriously. How did we get here? And where are we going?

[See related discussions in Irving, Comments: "Mass on-line direct marketing to ObGyn's, surgeons, women -- ethical?" (Nov. 4, 2005).

Comments: "Introducing www.laterbaby.org: a New Educational Web Site for Young Women Who Want Children in the Future" (Nov. 3, 2005).

"Analysis of Legislative and Regulatory Chaos in the U.S.: Asexual Human Reproduction and Genetic Engineering" (Oct. 20, 2004).

"Historic roots of human genetic engineering: REASON, Duke, and parahuman reproduction - 1972" (July 11, 2004).

"Who cares about genetic engineering?" (June 22, 2004).

"Scientific References, Human Genetic Engineering (Including Cloning): Artificial Human Embryos, Oocytes, Sperms, Chromosomes and Genes" (May 25, 2004).

"Comments on 'Social and Ethical Issues in Nanotechnology: Lessons from Biotechnology and Other High Technologies'" (May 24, 2004).

"Analysis: Stearns' Congressional Human Cloning Fairy Tale 'Ban'; New Age and Transhumanist Legislation for 'Converging Technologies'?" (Sept. 8, 2004).]

-- Pagan gods of infertility and IVF:

-- Reprogenetics PGD company international:

[quoting] Reprogenetics is a private genetics laboratory specialized on Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Although the company was created in 2000, its director, Santiago Munn, and team of scientist have been involved in PGD for more than a decade. These scientists have been involved in PGD since 1991, first providing PGD services at Cornell University, and later at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (Livingston, NJ) decided to create Reprogenetics as a stand alone PGD service, to offer state of the art PGD to any reproductive medicine program so it can offer PGD routinely to its patients. In the U.S. we have two reference laboratories where IVF centers can send their samples. For your convenience one is located on the East coast in West Orange, NJ and the other on the West Coast in San Francisco, CA. In Europe we have a laboratory in Barcelona, Spain. In Asia we have a laboratory in Kobe, Japan. USA website.

-- Reprogenetics:

"Reprogenics" is a term coined by Princeton bioethicist Lee Silver [], and championed by libertarian Ronald Bailey, science editor of Reason Magazine.

The term was picked up by bioethics. The Hastings Center defines "reprogenetics" as "the new techniques at the intersection of reproductive medicine and genetics for manipulating gametes and embryos". [Better Oversight for Reprogenetics?]. See Hastings Center Special Report, "Reprogenetics and Public Policy: Reflections and Recommendations" (July/Aug 2003) (pdf file, free access)] The report refers to reprogenetics as "one great embryo experiment".

-- Reprogenetics and the drug industry:

See, R. Mackenzie, "Reprogenetics and pharmacogenetics: in whose best interests?", Med Law. 2005 Jun;24(2):343-54, PMID: 16082870.

-- Reprogenetics and Transhumanism:

[quoting] Further opposition to transhumanism comes from critics who point to subjectivity in the use of concepts such as "enhance" and "limitations", seeing eugenicist or master race ideologies of the past as warnings of what transhumanism might unintentionally encourage, as evidenced by the emergence of fringe offshoots such as prometheism and transtopianism. Some transhumanists do advocate forms of liberal eugenics but many others distance themselves from this term (prefering reprogenetics instead) to avoid being mistakenly associated with the pseudoscientific and dehumanizing views and practices of early-20th-century eugenics movements. However, given that transhumanism essentially developed out of the California self-improvement culture, the idea of equating that culture with Nazi-style eugenics is seen as laughable if not libelous by many transhumanists. The master race (German: Herrenrasse, Herrenvolk) is a concept in Nazi ideology, which holds that the Germanic and Nordic people represent an ideal and pure race. It derives from nineteenth century racial theory, which posited a hierarchy of races placing African Bushmen and Australian Aborigines at the bottom of the... Liberal eugenics is the study and use of genetic engineering to improve human beings, specifically in regards to biological characteristics and capacities. ... Reprogenetics is a term referring to the merging of reproductive medicine and genetics technologies expected to happen in the near future as techniques like preimplantation genetic diagnosis become more available and more powerful. ... Phrenology is seen today as a classic example of pseudoscience. ... Dehumanization is a process by which members of a group of people assert the inferiority of another group through subtle or overt acts or statements." Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution: Logo from the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921, depicting it as a tree which unites a variety of different fields. ... [http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/transhumanism]

-- Transhumanism and the National Science Foundation / Department of Commerce Report:

Much of what we are seeing in these contentious human cloning and human embryonic stem cell debates feeds directly into that report's own published human genetic engineering agenda, including the "transformation of human nature", the redefinition of all scientific and ethics terms, and the use of non-experts as "experts" across the spectrum to facilitate "consensus" interaction as they go about engineering an interconnected "cosmic brain". See, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnolog, Information Technology and Cognitive Science, NSF/DOC-sponsored report, edited by Mihail C. Roco and William Sims Bainbridge, National Science Foundation (June 2002).

-- Transhumanism, Post-Humanism, Futurism:


November 7, 2005

Celebrities Add Glitz to the American Fertility

Association's 2005 Kokopelli Ball

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives' Mary-Alice Young) and Jason Alexander (Seinfeld's George Costanza) will help The American Fertility Association (AFA) honor the exceptional achievements of fertility doctors, scientists, and advocates at the annual Kokopelli Ball on Monday, November 7, 2005 at the Chelsea Piers in New York City. "Kokopelli" is the Native American spirit of fertility.

"It's primetime for fertility when celebrity advocates like Brenda, Jason and Joan lend their voices and embrace the possibilities for building families," said Pamela Madsen, Founder and Executive Director of The American Fertility Association.

Brenda Strong plays the dual role of Kokopelli Ball Mistress of Ceremonies and national spokesperson. She is graciously donating her time over the next year to help raise awareness around reproductive difficulties for the fertility patient advocacy organization. In addition, she will share her personal infertility story and her success with complementary medicine and exercise.

World-renowned leaders in fertility - physicians, researchers, scientists, lawyers, and mental health professionals - will come together at The AFA's annual gala to honor outstanding members of their professional community who have devoted their time and expertise to building families for those with reproductive difficulties.

Jason Alexander will present Dr. Richard Paulson, Director of USC Fertility, with the Dr. Howard and Georgeanna Jones Lifetime Achievement Award. The award's namesakes founded the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School [founded by Dr. Edmund Pellegrino] and created the first IVF program in the United States. In 1981, they achieved the first successful IVF-assisted birth in the country. Their leadership and scientific achievements have touched millions of lives. The AFA acknowledges with much sadness the passing of Georgeanna Jones earlier this year.

David K. Gardner, Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine's Scientific Director, will receive the Robert Edwards Scientific Award, named for the British scientist who first achieved fertilization of the human egg in the laboratory.

Joan Lunden will receive the 2005 Media Award for being an outspoken advocate for surrogacy.

The eight Family Building Award honorees are recognized for their commitment and determination to help the millions in the United States with reproductive difficulties:

Serena H. Chen, MD
Mark I. Evans, MD
Ronald F. Feinberg, MD, PhD
Isaac Kligman, MD
Kathleen Miller, BSTS
Gabriel San Roman, MD
Kaylen M. Silverberg, MD

The American Fertility Association's Silent Auction, held at the Kokopelli Ball, is also online this year at http://www.theAFA.org. The proceeds from the Auction will support important advocacy and education programs. In addition, funds raised will ensure that membership and access to resources and information through The AFA's "No Barriers" membership program remain free to all who need it. The 2005 Kokopelli Ball is made possible through the generous support of AFA sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors Cornell Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility
Ferring Pharmaceuticals
Organon USA, Inc.
Reproductive Medicine Associates
Serono, Inc.

Gold Sponsors
Apthorp Pharmacy
IntegraMed America
Kraupner Pharmacy
Metro Drug Stores
Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York
Reproductive Specialists of New York, LLP
Schraft's, a specialty pharmacy

Silver Sponsors
The Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
The Chen Family
Comprehensive Genetics/Mark I. Evans, MD
Freedom Drug
The Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas
Kings Pharmacy
Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates
Montefiore's Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health
Old Post Road Group LLC
Reproductive Associates of Delaware
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut
Sher Institutes for Reproductive Medicine
The Silverberg Family
USC Fertility

THE AMERICAN FERTILITY ASSOCIATION (AFA) is a national organization dedicated to educating, supporting and advocating for all men and women concerned with reproductive health, fertility preservation, infertility and all forms of family building. Visit for more information and support.

Frank Fusco
David Eng Communications
(212) 714-3537

SOURCE American Fertility Association: Web Site.

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